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Wiki rampages through Nines training

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/02/2017 Angelo Risso

<span style="font-size:13px;">Warriors stalwart Ruben Wiki has lost none of the competitiveness that made him a club legend, committing wholeheartedly to Nines training.</span> © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Warriors stalwart Ruben Wiki has lost none of the competitiveness that made him a club legend, committing wholeheartedly to Nines training. Warriors stalwart Ruben Wiki has just one speed with ball in hand, and that's full steam ahead.

The 44-year-old, coming out of retirement to skipper the side in this weekend's Auckland Nines, took no prisoners in his first full-contact session on Monday.

Young or old, Wiki did what he does best - put opponents on their backsides.

"We could only be doing 'bodies in front', but it's like he doesn't really understand what that means," halfback Shaun Johnson said.

"Ruben will come flying in and fold them."

Wiki, a former Kiwis captain and front-rower, played 87 games for the Warriors between 2005 and 2008 after a 12-year stint at Canberra.

He currently serves as the side's strength and conditioning coach, giving him the chance to jump into full-contact training from time to time.

But he told reporters Monday's session still left him more than a little sore.

"I felt it yesterday and the best thing for me was to do a workout, that's the only way to get the soreness out for me," Wiki said on Wednesday.

"It was good to actually tackle someone, it's been a while."

New assistant coach Steve McNamara, overseeing the Nines tilt alongside club legend Stacey Jones, said he expected Wiki to play a decent chunk of each match.

The club had adopted a relaxed approach to this year's Nines tournament, with energies spared for a solid 13-a-side campaign from March.

But with a number of young guns set to take part, McNamara expected Wiki to provide important leadership in a festive Eden Park environment.

"He's an inspirational character anyway but for a lot of these boys to play alongside the ultimate warrior, it's a great honour," the former England boss said.

"We've just started to focus on the Nines this week in terms of preparation, we want to go out and enjoy ourselves but we want to represent the club in a strong fashion."

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